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Minimum Design Metal Temperature (MDMT)

and Impact Test

Written by Alex Matveev in Piping Design and Layout,Piping Materials,Piping
Stress Analysis,Piping Stress Basics,Start-Prof

Table of Contents
• Rules for using materials below its MDMT without impact testing
• What is Stress Ratio, r?
• How does Start-Prof take care of MDMT?
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Minimum Design Metal Temperature or MDMT is the lowest temperature that a

piping system with specified material and thickness can withstand. While
designing piping systems (equipment) in cold regions where environment
temperature falls drastically or piping systems carrying cryogenic temperature
fluid, MDMT is a critical factor. Considering the metal’s resistance to brittle
failure, MDMT is the lowest permissible metal temperature for that thickness.

The designer shall verify that materials are suitable for service throughout the operating
temperature range (maximum and minimum possible temperatures). Table A-1 and
Table A-1M of ASME B31.3 code contain the minimum design metal temperature for
which the material is normally suitable without impact testing. Refer to Fig. 1 where
minimum design temperatures for a few carbon steel pipe materials are highlighted.

Fig. 1: MDMT of Carbon Steel Pipe and Tube

The MDMT for Carbon Steel in -29°C. So what does it mean? Can we use it below that
Below -29°C, ductile Carbon steel starts converting into brittle material. So impact test
requirements as per the code arises as brittle carbon steel can easily fail
catastrophically. However, the code provides few rules to use such materials below its
minimum design metal temperatures as provided below:

Rules for using materials below its MDMT without impact

The use of a material at a design minimum temperature colder than −29°C (−20°F) is
established by para. 323.2.2 and other impact test requirements. For carbon steels with
a letter designation in the Minimum Temperature column, the curve in Figure 323.2.2A
of ASME B 31.3 (Reproduced in Fig. 2) is used. MDMT depends on the nominal

Fig. 2: MDMT vs Nominal Thickness

Impact testing of the base metal is not required if the design minimum temperature is
warmer than or equal to the calculated value of MDMT.

However, for steels, impact testing is not required if the stress ratio “r” 323.2.2 (b) is 0.3
or less, and the design minimum temperature is warmer
than or equal to −104°C (−155°F), and temperature reduction may be used if 323.2.2 (c)
rules are satisfied:

(1) The piping is not in the Elevated Temperature Fluid Service.

(2) Local stresses caused by shock loading, thermal bowing, and differential expansion
between dissimilar metals (e.g., austenitic welded to ferritic) are less than 10% of the
basic allowable stresses at the condition
under consideration.
(3) The piping is safeguarded from maintenance loads, e.g., using a valve wheel wrench
on a small-bore valve.

Also, carbon, low alloy, and intermediate alloy steel materials (including welds) that
have not been qualified by impact testing, the minimum temperature from Table A-1,
Table A-1M, or Figure 323.2.2A maybe
reduced to a temperature no colder than −48°C (−55°F) by the temperature reduction
provided in Figure 323.2.2B if 323.2.2 (c) rules are satisfied.

Fig. 3: Temperature Reduction calculation as per stress ratio

What is Stress Ratio, r?

The stress ratio “r” calculated as maximum value from the following:

• From all operating modes and force-based loadings we calculate the maximum rating
value r

mt% – mill tolerance, C – corrosion allowance, S – allowable stress

• From all operating modes force-based loadings (force+displacement)-based loadings
we calculate the maximum value of r

How does Start-Prof take care of MDMT?

The latest version of professional PASS/START-PROF software includes the ability to
check automatically if the impact test is needed or not.

Firstly, the PASS/START-PROF has a material database that includes the minimum
metal temperature for all materials. For carbon steels with a letter designation in the
Minimum Temperature, PASS/START-PROF calculates the minimum metal
temperature automatically, according to Figure 323.2.2A.

Fig. 4: MDMT Consideration in Start-Prof

Secondly, the software automatically calculates “r” values for all operating modes of the
piping system. And has the special option “Use MDMT Allowable Reduction” in
project settings to verify if the temperature reduction is allowed or not as shown in Fig. 5

Fig. 5: Using
MDMT Allowable Reduction in Start-Prof
Thirdly, for each pipe element in the system the software determines if the impact test
is needed or not according to the previously described rules of 323.2.2 (a), (b), (d), (e),
(f), (g), (h), (i), (j) ASME B31.3-2018. The result is shown in the special MDMT table as
shown in Fig. 6 below:

Fig. 6: MDMT Results in Start-Prof

Fig. 7: Checking
MDMT output
After analysis, if the minimum design or ambient temperature from all operating modes
is lower then the calculated MDMT value, the “Impact Test” requirement note is printed.
Otherwise, the result simply shows “OK” for proceeding further.

To avoid the impact testing, the stress ration “r” value should be reduced as low as
possible for the critical piping system elements. To do this, you need to create the
piping stress analysis model in PASS/START-PROF and reduce the sustained and
operation stresses by adding more supports or flexibility to the piping system.

The more information about the new modern pipe stress analysis software
PASS/START-PROF you may learn from the resources web page.

Few more useful resources for you.